It was huge for our confidence to get that win in Dallas.
We've played well the last four games, but we've also been having trouble finding ways to win and close out games. This time, we got a good lead early in the game and held onto it.
When we had that 3-0 lead, the message was pretty straightforward on the bench: keep it simple… We had to make sure that we kept pushing forward. We didn't want to be on our heels -- we wanted to stay on our toes. I thought we did a good job of that. We knew they were going to push and we were ready for it.
Overall, I thought it was a good 60-minute effort from everybody, especially James Reimer, our goaltender, who was great again in net. I thought the defense did a good job of moving pucks and the forwards scored when they had to score. I thought it was a really good game all around.
Video: Panthers use power play to down Stars, 3-1
For us, it's all about finding ways to win right now. It takes some time and obviously our confidence was a little low after losing a couple tight games, but we all came together and knew that we had to bear down and start winning. It's not like we aren't getting chances, because we are. We've just got to start closing games out. I think our win in Dallas was a good start.
From a personal perspective, it was awesome to be back in Dallas. You obviously want to win your first game against your former team and there were definitely some jitters. I'll admit that it was a little weird to be on the other side and play against some of my former teammates, but getting out of town with those two points was all I was really thinking about.
After the game, we boarded our flight for Fort Lauderdale right around the time that the New Year was hitting on the east coast. To celebrate, we all had a little glass of champagne and shared a toast on the plane ride home. It was nice for all of us to be together and share that moment, especially after a big win.
Now before anyone asks about my resolutions, I have to tell you that I'm not really big on them. I just don't believe in the idea of it. I think people that do New Year's resolutions do so because they're trying to find a day to quit something. I've never really thought about making any resolutions.
Video: MTL@FLA: Demers' one-timer banks into the net
As for my last goal, all I can say is that the puck is hitting off of people and going in.
That's probably what's different with my offense this year. I'm just getting some fortunate bounces and trying to get pucks to the net when I can. It's nice when you get little bounces like that during the season. It makes it a little easier on me, for sure.
When I look at the balance between offense and defense, I really try to take it game by game. There are certain games where I need to play more defensive and there are other games, depending on the type of the game, where I am free to be a little bit more offensive.
I kind of know the way I want to play every game before I go into it. For example, I knew that I would have to be a little more defensive against a team like Dallas because they're a very run-and-gun team. Against teams like Montreal or Toronto, however, I can go a little more on the offensive side because they play a more defensively structured game. I kind of tailor my game around that adaptable mentality.
Looking ahead, it's definitely fun to be at home for these next few games. We've been trying to stay loose in these days off -- you can't get tight. We're going to have some good practice days and just get ready for Winnipeg. That's what we have to do during this whole week, just take it game by game. We've got to take advantage of being at home right now.
Jameson Olive contributed to this article